Phantasmafloria caught a serious travel-bug when he visited France earlier last year; and later that November, he and Töck finally decided to fulfill a dream that they had both had since high-school long before they had even met each-other: go to Japan! Neither Töck nor Phanty had ever been to Japan before; and for Töck this was going to be her very first time out of the Southern Hemisphere! And the best thing was that they were both going to do it together. ^.^
With suitcases packed with Brand and polar-climate clothing purchased for them by Töck's worry-stricken mother, Töck and Phanty headed to Sydney International Airport, and after what was probably the shortest Customs Waiting-line in history, they were individually greeted aboard an adorable pink-and-purple-seated Thai Airlines plane that took them first to Bangkok Airport, and from there, back onto another pink and purple plane to Japan the next morning!
Arriving in Japan
There was snow on the ground when they arrived in Tokyo after a long bus-trip from Narita Airport along highways marked with Tanuki Crossing signs. Apparently snow in Tokyo is quite rare, so T and P felt extremely lucky! This was the very first time either of them had seen real snow! ^.^ Not even losing a luggage-wheel somewhere on the streets of Shibuya on the way there could dampen their excitement. ^.^
|Phanty at Narita Airport in his Doki Fox Yakiimo jumper and tourist-shorts despite the 8-degree weather outside. Can you believe he's barely slept in 24 hours? ^.^|
On the morning of their first freezing day in Japan, they began by exploring the area around their Shinjuku hotel. They squealed over some adorable stationary at Sekaido (Japan's oldest continually-operating craft shop, est. 1940) and ventured through the beautiful Gyoen Park. The incredible thing was that while the grounds were blanketed with snow, they were still able to explore a hot, humid, jungle inside the park's tropical greenhouse! It was a miracle they didn't get the sprue. XD
|Quaint little shrine wedging itself in between two modern shops in Shinjuku|
|Shinjuku Gyoen Park (feat. Töck)|
|Pansies: not as weak as people think.|
|Inside the steamy, tropical greenhouse with the snow outside sort of visible in the upper left corner|
They then took a bus out to Asakusa Shrine, where they found a toy poodle being pushed in a pram, a statue seemingly dedicated to pigeons and what was possibly the best mochi in the entire universe. ^.^
|Painter at Aasakusa Shrine ^.^|
|Monument to pigeons? ^.^|
Their second day in Japan seemed to be dedicated entirely to anime culture: first they went to Akihabara, and then to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka!!!
In Akiba they visited multi-storey otaku shops, including one that had three floors consisting entirely of 'Manga for Ladies,' and Phanty finally got to play his favourite rhythm-games in a real arcade! He and Töck also stopped by the @Home Maid Cafe, a place of sweetness and joy where it is impossible not to smile! (Though as usual, they were not allowed to take pictures inside) :-p
|*Back of Phanty*|
|Don't let the clear blue skies fool you... it was absolutely FREEZING that day!|
|Inside the official store of Phanty's beloved AKB48! (Töck personally prefers Momosu...) :-p|
On the third day, Töck and Phanty finally set off for the lolita Mecca of Harajuku - and good thing they did too, because this also happened to be the day of the massive Grand Bazar Sale at LaForet!
As was to be expected, Laforet was a crowded bloodbath of irasshaimase-hollering salespeople (one of whom was kind enough to free Töck after her bag-zipper got caught on a sales sign in the BTSSB section!) and eager bargain-hunters that even included uniformed schoolgirls who were skipping school just for this sale. As a strong supporter of youthful rebellion, Töck highly approved. ^.^
T and P were not in there for long, as they had to get out of there quickly before they spent all of their holiday-money! However, they did manage to exit the carnage with an AATP Blouse and Meta JSK set for Töck, and for Phanty, an AP poncho, a Baby OP set, socks, necklace and beret. ^.^ A visit to 6%DOKIDOKI and a relaxing stroll through the heavily-forested grounds of Meiji Shrine followed soon after. <3
|The iconic Harajuku Station!|
|The 6%DOKIDOKI shop, located upstairs from a caricaturist's studio ^.^|
|Amazing hairdresser's signs ^.^|
|The Harajuku Barbie Cafe, which was actually torn down a week after this photo was taken, possibly to make room for another stupid Wego shop for tourists. So sad! :-(|
|The kawaii artist Winter Spring was having an exhibition at the Harajuku Design Festa Gallery! We even came back later and bought a little framed watercolour she did of an elephant ^.^|
Our Japanese Adventures have still only just begun! We are going to be posting an entire series of 'Adventures in Japan' blogposts within the next coming weeks, so please stay tuned for more updates!!!
- Töck and Phantasmafloria